Nov 30, 2007

On Things We Can Learn From Dogs

Left: Eddie Haskell, my 2-year-old Puggle

I have been acquainted with many dogs in my life, and I can say that I have yet to meet a dog that did not have at least some redeeming qualities. I should add that every dog, in my humble opinion, is a creature capable of modeling vituous behavior.

Unlike some humans, truth be told.

Here, then, is a list of characteristics that most dogs exemplify, and from which we humans could take a few lessons. If more of us acted like our dogs, I suspect that the world would be a better place.

Show affection to those around you. When I return home after even a short errand, my dogs greet me at the door with joy and love. Even though I might be in the foulest of moods, I cannot help but be cheered by the canine love-fest that awaits me.

Loyalty is a virtue. Yes, dogs will tolerate almost any environment, but the strong bond dogs exhibit toward their masters should be a reminder that loyalty is an important trait to cultivate.

Take time to play. Dogs sometimes find inappropriate mechanisms by which they engage in play, such as chewing on furniture, the bathroom vanities, or sneaking out of the backyard, but they can model for us that personal happiness requires regular participation in enjoyable activities.

When you are tired, take a nap. Seems like common-sense advice to me, yet I often find myself pushing myself to the point of mental and physical exhaustion when I would be much better off by simply closing my eyes and recharging my body and mind.

There is much that is fascinating in the world. Humans are creatures who would become bored with a satellite dish that can produce only 300 stations, while dogs can be content chewing a tree branch. While I am not suggesting that we exercise our molars on pieces of dead oak, I do think that we could emulate dogs in their sense of wonderment and their ability to enjoy the moment.

Squirrels are evil, and vigilance must be the word of the day against this rodential menace. If al-Qaeda members could take an animal form, there is little doubt that they would choose that of the squirrel. Actually, my dogs told me to type this, as they are currently barking in unison at a devious-looking member of the Sciuridae family that is plotting mischief near my bird feeders.


Anonymous said...

very true, and I'm a cat person!!!

Hooda Thunkit said...


I also find your insights to be true, at least from another cat person's point of view.

(Sent via my trusty IBM laptop; network name = Eddie Haskell...)

Mad Jack said...

To bark, or not to bark: that is the question:
Whether 'tis nobler in the mind to suffer
The slipper and folded newspaper of sleepless human,
Or to use teeth against a horde of interlopers, squirrels all,
And by opposing end them? To die: to sleep;
No more; and by an interrupted sleep to say we end
The insufferable irritation and the unknown noise

Rocky, shut up and go to sleep!

OFAC said...


With the exception of the unfair and cruel attack on our squirrel friends, of course.

Shirin said...

Dogs may often display virtuous behavior, but not for the reasons that humans would display those same traits. They have certain instincts that foster loyalty, protectiveness, and a proclivity for affection.

They don't do these great things because they care about them on principle-- they just don't know any better.

It takes a lot of conscious effort for people to act in those ways because we're just not genetically programmed to. That is what makes human virtue so special and so noble: it takes thinking, caring, planning, and effort.

P.S.:: I know this is an old post of yours but I was looking for puggle pictures and I came across this part of your blog :P

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